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Horsemeat in the EU food chain

EFSA is aware of the contamination of beef products with horsemeat in the EU food chain. The source is currently being investigated by risk managers across Europe, who have requested extensive testing to be carried out.

In the EU food safety system, EFSA’s role is to provide scientific advice to risk managers regarding food and feed safety. The contamination of beef products with horsemeat raises issues of false labelling, food quality and traceability in the EU food chain. While there is no evidence to date of a food safety concern, EFSA stands ready to provide scientific assistance to the European Commission and/or Member States should this be required.

In the European food safety system, risk assessment is done separately from risk management. The European Commission, European Parliament and EU Member States are the key risk managers in the EU system. They are responsible for determining European policies and making decisions to manage risks associated with the food chain such as this case of entry of horsemeat into the food chain.

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